In the last decade, the number of Mexicans moving to the UK has increased, and consequently, so has the number of Mexican dining establishments. Although the amount of Mexican restaurants in Edinburgh isn’t quite as high as that of other more commonly found international cuisines, their popularity is still growing. Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to Edinburgh’s Mexican restaurants, and you’ll find some of the city’s best towards the centre of town with some other fabulous options scattered across the city. From cantina-style to family-friendly and Tex-Mex, the Mexican restaurants in Edinburgh have something to offer for everyone.
Mexican cuisine’s early origins can be traced back to around 7,000 BC, when corn, tomatoes, beans and various root vegetables became prominent in the diets of the indigenous people of what is now Mexico. The Mesoamerican diet later fused with that of the Spanish colonisers, who brought along rice, domesticated animals for meat, and dairy products during the conquest of the Aztec Empire in the 16th century. Vegetables and other native ingredients are especially common in the Mexican kitchen, and the chilli pepper plays a particularly important role in many of its dishes. Thankfully for folks who can’t handle the heat, most Mexican restaurants in Edinburgh tone down the spice level to local standards. In Mexico, every region has its own cuisine variations, like a focus on seafood and fish in western Mexico, while the cuisine of Chiapas uses a special chile called simojovel, which can be found nowhere else in the country. Chocolate is an ingredient that’s especially beloved by Mexicans, and has an incredibly long history of use in Mesoamerica beginning as far back as 1750 BCE. In Aztec times, chocolate was used ceremonially for sacrifices and sometimes even as an aphrodisiac. Today, chocolate is often served up as a hot drink for breakfast with cinnamon and perhaps pan dulce (a sweet bread) on the side. Dishes made with chocolate can usually be found in the more traditional Mexican restaurants in Edinburgh, especially in the form of mole, one of Mexico’s most well known sauces.
When dining at one of the Mexican restaurants in Edinburgh, you’re sure to find margaritas aplenty on the beverage menus. There are many varying stories concerning the drink’s origins, but most legends point to its creation sometime around the middle of the 20th century. Using a base of tequila alongside Triple Sec and lime or lemon juice, this tasty drink is found in many of Edinburgh’s Mexican restaurants. Served either shaken or on the rocks, straight up or blended and frozen, margaritas are made differently in every restaurant, but you can always count on your glass having salt on the rim. Ingredients like strawberry, peach, raspberries and strawberries are often added to less traditional versions of the drink, and it’s usually possible to have your drink made without the addition of alcohol. Of course, there are many other drinks to try at traditional Edinburgh’s Mexican Restaurants, from agua fresca, a refreshing non-alcoholic drink made with different types of fruit, to horchata, a traditional drink made with rice, cinnamon, vanilla and served either hot or ice cold.
Nowadays, the foods so often associated with Mexican food are actually americanised versions of dishes that once originated in Mexico, but have been tailored to American tastes. Burritos, nachos and chimichangas are technically Tex-Mex, and incorporate the flavours of Northern Mexico with that of the cuisine of the American Southwest. Tex-Mex is what you’ll find in many Mexican restaurants in Edinburgh(and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing), but if you keep your eyes peeled, you can find some that are focused on authenticity. Take a look on Quandoo and book your table at the best Mexican restaurants in Edinburgh.